Professional wrestling is fake. That is the comment that fans often hear whenever they encounter somebody who decides to criticize this particular form of entertainment. It was decades ago when the public was let in on the known secrets about pro wrestling. The moves that are executed during matches are, of course, not intended to cause injuries or even pain. Wrestlers are not, after all, actually competing. They are rather taking part in a unique ballet of sorts that is really not all that different from fight scenes that one would see during the climax of a summer action movie.
It is often said that those who tune in to watch programs such as World Wrestling Entertainment mainstay Raw have to “suspend their disbelief” in order to fully enjoy the action that occurs inside of the ring. That is relatively easy to do in certain situations. It is, for example, not all that difficult to convince yourself that a wrestler who was on the receiving end of a powerbomb would be down for the count. A submission such as a sharpshooter or a triangle choke is believable because those moves would actually inflict damage if they were applied with real force and real pressure.
There are, however, plenty of wrestling moves that look downright ridiculous and seem like they would not at all hurt if the action inside of the ring was actually real. This is not just limited to basic wrestling moves that are meant to offer rests to the wrestlers during a match. Some finishing moves that have been used by wrestlers look like they wouldn't hurt the common fan watching a show, let alone an athlete who is in tremendous physical shape. Odds are that diehard fans of the current WWE product may be able to guess the finishing move that earned the top spot in this list.
15 Spinning Toe Hold
There are a variety of wrestling moves from an older era of the business that have unofficially been retired as it pertains to the WWE. The Spinning Toe Hold is more or less one of them. It not only has an absurd name. This submission move bends one's leg the way that it naturally bends in a manner that we are supposed to believe hurts a wrestler. There is a good reason why wrestlers working for the WWE no longer use the Spinning Toe Hold. There are a plethora of submission holds that look better and more realistic when they are executed by talented workers.
14 Angle Slam
Kurt Angle is unquestionably one of the top overall performers in the history of the wrestling business. It is nevertheless a positive that Angle was given the Ankle Lock finisher to go along with the Angle Slam. Whenever an Angle Slam is executed, it looks like a wrestler is being given a fun little ride before he is allegedly “slammed” into the mat. It definitely looks cool when Angle pulls off this move when he and an opponent are on the top rope. The luster and the magic is lost, however, when Angle and a different wrestler complete this move while standing in the middle of the ring.
13 Standing Elbow Drop
Yes, it would hurt if somebody were to smash his elbow into your chest as he plummeted down from a high starting point such as the top rope. A standing elbow drop, such as what The Rock pulls off as he completes The People's Elbow, is not the same thing. A wrestler executing a standing elbow drop is dropping a portion of his body down onto an opponent from only a few feet above the supposed victim. Not only does this not look like it would cause any considerable pain, the person doing this takes his own bump down on the mat of the ring. That's just silly.
12 Hip Toss
Let's just be honest about the matter here. A hip toss is not really all that different from an assisted somersault except for the fact that the person being “tossed” is landing flat on his back. One obviously would not want to take a hip toss onto a concrete or wooden surface. Even falling flat down onto either would absolutely hurt anybody. While it is known that a wrestling mat is not completely soft, a hip toss is a basic move that is Pro Wrestling 101 because it is easy to pull off and because the person taking the move is in no real danger.
11 Modern Camel Clutch
Back in the day when men were men and when wrestlers weren't bothered by the fact that they may be stretched out a little bit during a match, the Camel Clutch was made to look like a brutal finisher that would hurt any opponent. That all changed, however, when wrestlers placed in the Camel Clutch remained on their knees rather than keeping their legs extended. One thing that would not, on paper, seem to be all that big of a deal has turned the Camel Clutch into a wrestler completing a chin lock while sitting on the back of a victim. This looks annoying, sure, but not painful.
10 Slamming a Head Into The Turnbuckle
Those of you who “played” wrestling when you were younger may have begun to realize that what you had been watching on television was not real competition thanks to this move. Having your head slammed into a soft pillow by a sibling or a friend is not all that different than when a wrestler repeatedly slams the head of an opponent into the covered turnbuckle. This may make the wrestler having his head bounced off of the turnbuckle dizzy. It would not, however, hurt that person, and anybody who has head-butted a pillow, mattress or other soft surface knows that.
There is a good reason that Wade Barrett/Bad News Barrett has been given a different finishing move. It probably had something to do with the fact that Wasteland looked like it was more of an inconvenience to the person taking the move than something that would actually hurt a grown man. Go figure that the same company responsible for forcing the Attitude Adjustment down the throats of wrestling fans for years would find a way to come up with an even worse version of that finisher. At least Barrett has been given a proper finisher, one that would actually hurt if he connected with that elbow to the head.
8 The Rear View
While we understand that pro wrestling is fake and that moves are not supposed to hurt the performers, there are some moves that make it hard to remain part of the fantasy. The Rear View that has been used by female WWE wrestlers such as Naomi and Asuka is one such move. One would never, in a real fight, actually jump forward so that an oncoming assailant would run into his or her backside. Not only does the Rear View look dumb, there is no way that an intelligent individual could convince himself that the wrestler doing this move is hurting an opponent.
7 Samoan Spike
This finishing move was last routinely utilized by the performer known by WWE fans as Umaga. Along with being somewhat of a racist move considering the wrestlers who have used it during their careers, the Samoan Spike also looks like it would only hurt the person who is doing it. Even the thought of fully extending one of your thumbs and then forcefully striking another person with it may make you wince. That sounds like a good way to break a thumb rather than a way to knock a dazed opponent unconscious at the end of a wrestling match.
6 Braun Strowman Lifting Triangle Choke
As was pointed out in the introduction for this post, an actual triangle choke is an effective move when it is properly executed. What newcomer to the WWE roster Braun Strowman has been doing during matches and segments is not, however, a triangle choke. It is somewhat of a cross between a bearhug and a reverse “Million Dollar Dream” Whatever it is the WWE is trying to go for with Strowman using this as his finisher, it is not working. The company needs to realize that it does not have to re-create the wheel here. Just give Strowman a traditional choke-out move for a finisher.
5 Leg Drop
It is the move that was made famous among wrestling fans all over the world thanks to Hulk Hogan. As we have seen during the latter portions of his life, though, the leg drop causes way more punishment to the person doing the move than to the wrestler who takes it. Hogan literally took thousands of bumps while executing leg drops during his career. That real damage to his hips and to his legs have left him in rough shape these days. It looks as if it hurts Hogan to merely walk around. Hogan made a ton of money over the years, but it is safe to say that there have been times when he wished he would have used a different finisher.
4 Standing Armbar
Rest holds are a part of pro wrestling. Those participating in matches may be great athletes, but they still need a breather every now and again. A headlock is an example of a rest hold that is believable. I bet it would hurt if a 200 pound man squeezed down on the head of an opponent. The standing armbar, however, basically involves one wrestler stretching out the arm of another. Would this be mildly annoying if one were to do this to you? Sure. Would it hurt you? Probably not. Fans largely let this move slide if only because it has been a part of pro wrestling seemingly forever.
3 Big Ending
Big E Langston is, as his name implies, a large and powerful man. That does not mean that his “Big Ending” finishing move is not plain dumb. The over-the-shoulder facebuster involves an opponent landing on the chest of the wrestler who is doing the move. Meanwhile, the man in control of the action is taking a bump flat on his back as an opponent falls on him. This move may actually be painful, but not for the wrestler who is supposed to be knocked out when all is said and done. The Big Ending is a finisher that should be eliminated from the WWE.
2 Standing Dropkick
Everything about a standing dropkick is absolutely ridiculous. The wrestler who is executing this move has minimum momentum because he leaps straight up into the air before extending his legs. That same wrestler then takes a bump as he crashes down to the mat. What is particularly humorous about a standing dropkick is that the wrestler doing the move will “sell” as if he is hurt if his opponent manages to dodge or block the kick. That makes zero sense since the person doing the dropkick is hitting the mat with the same force regardless of the success or failure of the move.
1 Attitude Adjustment
John Cena offers receive an unfair amount of criticism for his wrestling abilities. Cena has, as much as some would not want to admit it, become one of the top overall workers in the WWE. With that said, the Attitude Adjustment finishing move that Cena has had for over a decade is just awful. Let's call the move what it is: A standing fireman's carry. Fans pop for the move whenever Cena hoists a wrestler onto his massive shoulders and it is a plus that the move is over with fans. That does not, however, erase the fact that the Attitude Adjustment does not look like it should hurt any pro wrestler.